The bequest of a dynamic reformer and liberalist establishes a scientific library at the institute

Black and white photo of the Lonsdale Library, 1924
The first institute scientific library is housed in the Lonsdale Street building board room.

Edward Wilson, a dynamic reformer and liberalist, jointly owned The Argus, Melbourne’s most widely circulated newspaper during the 1800s, from 1848 until his death in 1878. The Edward Wilson Trust was established at Wilson’s bequest to help Victorian charities.

The Trust donated £3000 to establish the institute’s scientific library.

“Although there has been the nucleus of a library in the institute since 1920, formed by the late Dr Mathison’s collection of medical works, it is only this year that a really up-to-date scientific library has been acquired.

In order to house this, the old board room, which was never used for the purpose originally intended, has been converted into an attractive and capacious library where members of the staff find it most convenient to be able to read and write without fear of disturbance.

A bronze tablet at the entrance commemorates the fact that it owes its existence to the generosity of the Edward Wilson (The Argus) Trust.” 1

The Edward Wilson Trust donation was the first received following the founding donation from the Walter and Eliza Trust.

1 Walter and Eliza Hall Institute 1925, Annual Report 1924-1925, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, p9

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